Archive for October, 2016
Our Private Tour Guests Are Dressed as Tourists
This snapshot captures a moment between lines of Hollywood visitors examining the stars along the Hollywood Walk of Fame so we can clearly see Yoda, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson (and Red Sonja?). The actors dress up and parade along Hollywood Boulevard every day of the year making a living from the tips proffered by curious folks from all over the world having their pictures taken with these characters. We do it all the time as a regular part of our Los Angeles private tour service if our guests want to. The photographs are generally funny and definitely impart a sense of “Hollywood” into their tour photo album. Of course the kids love it. There are a couple of other locations around Los Angeles where these costumed characters are evident when it is not Halloween. As for today, Halloween, expect wild costumes everywhere. Maybe not as professional or practiced, without the dance moves and the funny accents, but all in good fun. Happy Trick or Treat, everyone!
Happy and Sad Moments for Our Private Tour in this Little Cemetery
With our more mature Los Angeles private tour guests we often will visit one of the many local cemeteries where the plaques and gravestones will recall wonderful movie and television memories. Several of the nearby memorial parks are sprawling (Forest Lawn with its two spacious locations, Hillside), Hollywood Forever is just a city block in size and right in Hollywood, and then there is our favorite, Westwood Village. This pocket park requires the least amount of walking and offers the highest number of recognizable names. We find it fitting that it is located directly behind a movie theater and encircled by nearby studios and film production companies. Our guests today were big fans of Charlie’s Angels (the television series, 1976-1981) and in particular of Farrah Fawcett. Sometimes we think her death from cancer overshadowed her illustrious career (4 Emmy nominations, 6 Golden Globe nominations) and, like so many glamorous stars, her marriages and relationships sometimes drew more attention than the quality of her work. She was much more than a pin-up girl. She had real acting chops and worked on Broadway (Extremities) as well as significant dramatic roles on film (The Burning Bed). Our visit to her grave brought back wonderful memories for our guests and enlivened the discussion of past television and movie stars as we meandered through the tiny memorial park.
ALL of Our Private Tour Guests Are Glad We Are Driving
People think of Los Angeles as a city of highways. They are correct. Perhaps that is why we refer to the freeways most often by just their numbers and overlook the freeway or highway designation, route or thruway prefix and even the proper name given to long stretches of multi-lane roadway crisscrossing our grand metropolis. For instance, the complex interchange above is, to us, the interchange of the 110 and the 105. The large boulevard crossing through this pretty ribbon of concrete is Imperial Highway. To say our freeway system is confusing is an understatement. Believe it or not, in this extraordinary landscape of freeways, we have major highways that do not connect to one another. Really! Los Angelenos know where these non-interchanges are and know how to use the city streets to get from the 101N to the 134E. Our guides are among the best navigators we know (we test them regularly). They are premiere players of our Los Angeles “Best Route To Get There” game. Even more, they are wired into traffic through cellphone apps and websites such as SigAlert.com and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Since each Los Angeles private tour we do is set to the convenience of our guests we have to be able to navigate through all parts of the city at any time of the day or night. Accidents, construction and just plain dumb luck can make it necessary to include a colorful detour into what is usually a straight route between two sightseeing destinations. Our guides do this pretty much every day and are excellent at getting around Los Angeles. Do you want to enjoy getting around Los Angeles? Let us do the driving. Oh, by the way, even better for avoiding traffic is sightseeing by helicopter which is how we got this photograph of the freeway exchange.
Super Snack Before Private Tour to LACMA
Los Angeles is a restaurant town. Lots of restaurants. Lots of truly amazing restaurants. Sometimes, though, on a private tour around Hollywood and Beverly Hills we are on a roll and do not really want to take time out for a sit down meal. That’s when food trucks can be so beneficial. And our food truck company we want to promote, one of our very favorites, is Komodo. This Asian-fusion theme rolling food machine is, as their logo clearly states, dangerously good. Their specialty is a soft taco filled with dreamy, creamy tastes of the Pacific Islands. Seafood and farm food combinations that are mouthwatering and, well, nutritious and energy building. A recent wedding reception picnic we attended was catered by the big black truck with the giant lizard on the side and the wedding party and their guests were thrilled to have such good food at hand. We know our Los Angeles private tour guests have always been delighted after enjoying a quick meal at Komodo and then satisfied and ready to get back on the road and do some serious sightseeing at destinations such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) conveniently located right across the street from this food stop. Speaking of monsters, LACMA sits right beside the La Brea Tar Pits, the last home of some pretty big but now extinct monsters whose bones can be visited at the nearby Page Museum.
Characters Pose for Photos With Our Los Angeles Private Tour Guests
It seems like it is always Halloween on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. From early in the morning until well into the evening there are creatures and movie characters and some we cannot quite guess prowling the sidewalks for tips they earn posing with visitors to Hollywood. Often it is our Los Angeles private tour group sidling up alongside a sexy Catwoman or a silly SpongeBob SquarePants as their tour guide snaps photographs for the tour photo album they will take home with them. This being Hollywood you might call these Walk of Fame costumed impersonators the best because these individuals go to such extremes to create high quality costumes and to perfect their street personas such that our guests really sense the presence of Michael Jackson or Captain Jack Sparrow. This time of year these hardworking and imaginative “actors” serve another purpose – Halloween costume ideas. From the pedestrian and inexpensive to the bizarre and complicated, all sorts of characters and ideas roam the street. At this time of year there are even “amateurs” on the street, the kind of “dress up and go out” folks you might see at the World Series or a big football game. Instead of team logos we are talking about Rocky Horror Picture Show and Curse of the Mummy and lots and lots of zombies. We probably all have “dead man walking” clothes in the back of our closet.
Seems Our Private Tour is About Kevin Hart
Living is Los Angeles is often akin to living in a publicity barrage. When the PR machine for a major star begins to roll we here in the Hollywood area get ALL of the media material in ALL of its manifestations. Not just television and radio which we have a great deal of but giant banners and billboards, moving billboards mounted on trucks, vans, buses and cars, and signs, signs and more signs. So it is no surprise that our Los Angeles private tour guests recently asked us about Kevin Hart. He has taken over the city…he has taken over the world. He has a new comedy series, an upcoming concert film, a summer blockbuster with Dwayne Johnson (Central Intelligence), a major animated character (Snowball in The Secret Life of Pets) and a recently unveiled star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. What’s next? Probably a wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s, a lookalike character in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and certainly I ♥ HART buttons and stickers (we would like those for our vehicles). We can certainly take our guests on a custom Kevin Hart-themed tour visiting film locations and hangout spots and points of interested connected with this man’s life and career. He has many devoted fans and we expect to see them on one of our private tours of Hollywood and Los Angeles.
Our Private Tour Guests from Chicago Love Catalina Island
So many of our private Los Angeles tour guests are unaware of the island paradise only 23 miles away from Los Angeles. Santa Catalina Island (just Catalina to those of us living here) is the largest of the eight Channel Islands just off the southern coast of California. It’s rich history is only a small part of its attraction for visitors to our region as well as locals wishing a little “island” time to get away from the city. Our guides regale our guests with tales of Hollywood celebrities, gamblers and criminals on those days when the island appears through the foggy mist of the marine layer. Even better than stories told about the island while peering across the channel is our private tour out to Catalina (by helicopter, yacht or ferry – our guests’ choice) when we can show off the beautiful city of Avalon and the wild landscape that is still the major area of the island. The Catalina Island Museum is now housed permanently in the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner building, a lovely structure that pairs with the beautiful Avalon Casino and has whispers of Wrigley Field in its design. Ada (“Blanny”) was the granddaughter of William Wrigley, once owner of the Chicago Cubs and builder of famous Wrigley Field. Blanny Schreiner and the Wrigley Family contributed greatly to the island’s modern development and preservation and much is owed to them for the abundant joy that Catalina provides.
How About a Private Tour of Paris (from Los Angeles)
It turns out that a taste of Paris is not that far from here. We are talking about Paris – Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. With its half-sized Eiffel Tower, a mini-Arc de Triomphe, a suggestion of the Montgolfier balloon, a facade of the Louvre, replica fountains and bridges – this is Las Vegas at its best – much like the collection of souvenirs your aunt and uncle brought home to you from their European tour. Giant kitsch. We love it! Everyone does. One does not go to Las Vegas for historical accuracy. We go for the fun of it. We want to be transported to Paris for a night or two or to Camelot or Venice. Las Vegas makes Los Angeles seem stalwart and pious which it definitely is not as we so ably demonstrate to all of our private tour guests enjoying a custom tour of the city with us. And if our guests request that we take them to Las Vegas for some gambling and big name entertainment accompanied by superb wining and dining then we can do that. Las Vegas is a short charter flight away. We have all the connections to extend a private Los Angeles tour to our neighbor state and continue the VIP treatment that our guests expect. Even more…we can arrange a private helicopter tour and catered lunch on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Nothing “reduced scale” about that! If you are feeling like une nuit sur la ville, Paris then let us make that happen for you.
It’s Not Only the Homes that Say Beverly Hills on Our Private Tour
There is no missing the transition from any adjacent neighborhood into Beverly Hills. There are large signs like this one on Sunset Boulevard. There is a change in the street name signage. And then there are the homes. It is the homes that we and our Los Angeles tour guests are eager to explore any time we cross the boundary into Beverly Hills. This is where the movie stars live and have been living since the earliest days of Hollywood, even before Beverly Hills was its own city. This was ranch land back in those halcyon days as California was being settled and film industry pioneers were drawn to this part of the state with its varied and easily accessible landscapes and, most important, lots of bright sunny days all through the year. Making movies outdoors using natural light meant many more movies could be produced. Wide open spaces meant easy to manage chase scenes and western sets and explosions. This was pure heaven for filmmakers. And as the money rolled in there had to be a nice residential area fit for big homes and extravagant gardens and a very special shopping and business area. That was Beverly Hills and its Golden Triangle. We will tell you all about it as we show you around to the earliest homes (that still stand) and to some of the more recent celebrity mansions. There is much history and so many juicy stories to share that we could do an entire custom tour and never leave this tiny bejeweled city.
Another Eye-Catching Sight on a Los Angeles Helicopter Tour
Soon after circling the Los Angeles Coliseum we find ourselves above the StubHub Center, another major sports venue for L.A. fans. The StubHub Center is home to the L.A. Galaxy, our professional soccer team (part of the MLS – Major League Soccer). This is the second largest soccer specific stadium in the league and seats 27,000 cheering soccer lovers. The stadium is a centerpiece of an entire sports facility that also includes a velodrome and tennis stadium as well as other track & field locations. But soccer is the major draw to this campus between downtown Los Angeles and downtown Long Beach and right off the San Diego Freeway (and two other local freeways). We have a large number of guests on a private tour of Los Angeles, in one of our helicopters, luxury SUVs or both, who consider soccer to be the world’s pastime and are much more interested in seeing this “football” stadium over any other of the beautiful stadiums and ballparks in the Los Angeles area. While this is our football season (NFL and college) we accept that their football is a beautiful sport, too, and admit that we watch the games from time to time during the Olympics and World Cup competitions. Sports connects all of us no matter where we come from and we are very pleased to be able to take our guests to a world class soccer stadium when they visit.